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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 01-25-2013, 01:42 AM
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Default Tips for dealing with OCL and Private Assessors

I post this here for those about to go through an OCL assessment or a private assessment, if anyone wishes to add to this then please do so.

Position to take for joint custody equal shared parenting.
Explain that the children have lost their family as they know it. That you feel the children shouldn't lose their relationship with either parent.
The only consern you have is that with all the aligations being thrown out there to cloudy and muddy the waters it makes the assessors job more difficult. How can an assessor award joint custody when things like this are happening. Assure the assessor that you won't be adding to the noise. And ask the assessor to ask you how things are working, and how things are likely going to improve once your family is out of court. Talk about seeking couselling for improving communication, and support dealing with stress due to seperation. And that you are dealing well.

Basically an assessor's job is to be a fotune teller, they don't care about the past (provided there isn't abuse) only about moving forward.
The position to take: Assessor's position is very hard they are only in the children's lives for a split second, we as parents are in it for the long haul.
An assessor is also doing the assessment at a time of high emotion and high stress, and high animosity. They aren't comming back to check up on their assessment 2, 4, 6 years down the road. and learn from their mistakes. It's a snap shot. No one can read the future.

Now for the factual stuff.
This is taken from what I have learned during my assessment and the case notes which were released to me. I should add that my OCL report recommended Sole custody to my ex. I did end up with paralle and equal shared at trial. So this is what I would do now if given a second chance.

OCL generally gets 20 hours to do an assessment give or take.
4 hours parent interviews (2 hours with each parent usaully in 1 hour sittings)
3 hours observing the children (1.5 hours with each parent)
3 hours collecting colateral evidence (talking to family and friends)
Note this is all heresay and is all untested evidence. remember that
when you question the assessor at trial if you are disputing it.
2 disclosure meeting
8 hours writting 40 page report.

Here is a list of questions the OCL will likely ask you. This is taken directly from the case note of my assessor notes. And althrough maybe worded different generally you get the picture. You should have answers to these questions before the start of your assessment.

Remember frame everything around how equal shared parenting benifits the children. Not you, focus on the benifits for the children.

How did you and your partner meet?
Relationship Background:
Court Activity:
Parenting Arrangement History:
Exchange Routines:
What is working well in this situation?
What is not working so well in this situation?
Was there any violence during or after relationship with ex-partner?
Did the child/ren witness violence?
What led to the separation?
How have you coped since the separation?
Are you involved in another relationship?
What are your strengths/weaknesses as a parent?
How do you discipline?
Has your children ever been abused by anyone? Was there CAS/Police involvement?
Do you have any worries about your child/ren?
What is a typical day like in your household with the child/ren?
Can you tell me about your child/ren?
Who do you think the child/ren would like to be with? Why?
What would you like to see happen in terms of custody? Why?
How do you plan to make it work?
How did this custody situation get to be such a mess?
What are you doing to avoid conflict?
What. if anything. do you wish you had done differently since separating?
Who has the child/ren been involved with? (babysitters. daycare. family members, school etc?
Has the child/ren ever been in hospital?
Have you ever been hospitalized?
Have you ever experimented with drugs?
How many drinks do you have in a week?
Have you ever been told you have a substance abuse problem?
Do you have a history of mental illness?
Have you ever gone to counselling? Have you ever seen a psychiatrist?
Have you ever been involved with the law?
Tell me about your education history:
Tell me about your work history:
What is your financial situation?
Where were you born?
Parents Names/Marital Status
Do you have siblings & what is your relationship like with him/her/them?
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:07 PM
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OCL assessors can vary greatly. Private assessors tend to be a little more thorough (since they get paid).

If you don't agree with the assessor's report, WorkingDad's case is a great example of how a well prepared self repped litigant can utterly annihilate the OCL report if it's not done properly.

Like most things, you get what you pay for.
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NBDad View Post
OCL assessors can vary greatly. Private assessors tend to be a little more thorough (since they get paid).

If you don't agree with the assessor's report, WorkingDad's case is a great example of how a well prepared self repped litigant can utterly annihilate the OCL report if it's not done properly.

Like most things, you get what you pay for.
It's not like OCL do it for free. In my case guy make more than 132k if my memory shart.
I tend to think it more to do with personal qualities. I probably could not do it becouse I would not be able treat it as 9 to 5 job and posibility of making mistake would be unbarable...

WD
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NBDad View Post
...a well prepared self repped litigant can utterly annihilate the OCL report if it's not done properly.
My first time around, FLIC lawyer told me it was hopeless to fight it.

When asked if I could not challange the data, methodology, or potenetial bias of the OCL investigators work - her answer was `only if you land an exceptionally well paying job, will you be able to overcome that obstacle.`.

I took her word for it.

Foolish me.
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:20 PM
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It's people like that, that help make our justice system so flawed.

My lawyer told me one month before trial, that I was going to lose. Then told my parents I was going to lose, then told me to remove her from the case or she would remove herself.

Well I did just that. I removed her, prepared for trial and did it all myself.
I had the help of a support group and a lawyer who just helped formulate the questions for the OCL. and I did practice questioning with some friends.

In the end the OCL's report didn't have any weight.
In my opinion I couldn't give up fighting for equal shared parenting and joint custody. Everyday I put our children to bed, I would think to myself I can't give up, if I lose, I have to be able to look in or children's eyes and say to them when they say why didn't you fight. That I did.
I know it's silly but thats what got me through the days.
Would our child ever ask the question who knows, but it's wat got me through it.
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by involveddad75 View Post
It's people like that, that help make our justice system so flawed.

My lawyer told me one month before trial, that I was going to lose. Then told my parents I was going to lose, then told me to remove her from the case or she would remove herself.

Well I did just that. I removed her, prepared for trial and did it all myself.
I had the help of a support group and a lawyer who just helped formulate the questions for the OCL. and I did practice questioning with some friends.

In the end the OCL's report didn't have any weight.
In my opinion I couldn't give up fighting for equal shared parenting and joint custody. Everyday I put our children to bed, I would think to myself I can't give up, if I lose, I have to be able to look in or children's eyes and say to them when they say why didn't you fight. That I did.
I know it's silly but thats what got me through the days.
Would our child ever ask the question who knows, but it's wat got me through it.
Good job. I am glad you had some help
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WorkingDAD View Post
Good job. I am glad you had some help
Honestly, some well educated and experienced people who have done this should get together and write a book on how to cross examine a custody and access expert. Just saying... When they have the time that is...
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by involveddad75 View Post
I post this here for those about to go through an OCL assessment or a private assessment, if anyone wishes to add to this then please do so....
InvolvedDad75:

Your list of questions are accurate. What you should do, if you have the time, I just haven't had time to do it myself is research the clinical scales and other materials that these assessors use for intake.

There are four main ones. You can actually find the clinical guides for two of them online. I just haven't had time to write them up and expose them to the general public.

But, a well educated person can find them and post the links to this site. There are some freely accessable white papers on the matters where the college has provided detailed guidance to clinicians in Ontario on the requirements of assessors etc... Social workers publish one too.

It would be a benefit if you could find the time to start exposing this material. I have not been able to get to it. I can fill in the blanks on the materials as they come up. I get too many PMs and have to respond to too many threads to even keep up with these kinds of postings.

WD, you probably could rip up the information quickly through Google too. I can identify the relevant materials and dig out the key points in it once it starts flowing on to the site.

Good LucK!
Tayken
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:31 PM
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As someone going into the second stage of an OCL assessment, I can't believe how much involveddad75 has just helped many of us with this material. It's a struggle every single day to deal with the stress tearing out lives apart, quite unfortunately.

I commend everyone for sharing, so that parents get to be parents when they're focused on the children. I think the Ottawa Divorce forum was set up to help each other out.

I'll keep everyone posted on my situation if it's something that will help others.
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:37 PM
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Please keep posting experiences and advice. I will make this post a sticky. Let's try not to rant and keep it to positive suggestions. Thanks everyone.
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